Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PSYC100 Foundations of Psychology AND PSYC101 Applications of Psychology AND (PSYC104 Research Design and Statistics I OR PSYC110 Research Design and Data Analysis 1 )


PSYC313 Social Psychology

Teaching organisation

3 contact hours per week over 12 weeks or equivalent.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Social psychology is a fundamental topic within the discipline of psychology. It is the study of how people's thoughts, feelings, beliefs, intentions, goals, and behaviour are constructed within social contexts and through interactions with others. In this unit students will explore intrapersonal processes (e.g., self-perception and self-esteem), interpersonal processes (e.g., person perception, attraction, aggression, and helping), group processes (e.g., conformity, social loafing, and groupthink), and intergroup processes (e.g., prejudice). This unit will consider the impact of the social world on the individual, exploring issues of ethics, inequality, and social justice, and will  examine issues that are relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. For all topics, there is an emphasis on the theoretical and scientific basis of social psychology as well as their application to real-world behaviour and events across a range of social contexts. The aim of this unit is to provide students with knowledge of the core theories, methods, and findings of social psychology to develop an understanding of how the social context can affect human behaviour.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Describe the major historical and contemporary themes in social psychology and real-world applications of this knowledgeGC1, GC7
LO2Identify key social psychological constructs of relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other cultural groupsGC1, GC5, GC7
LO3Recognise the importance of research in the development of the social psychology knowledge base, and describe and critique the relevant methodological and ethical issuesGC1, GC7, GC9
LO4Identify the strengths and weaknesses of theoretical constructs and critically analyse empirical evidence in social psychologyGC1, GC7, GC8, GC9
LO5Demonstrate skills in interpreting empirical evidence from social psychology research, and discuss findings using effective written communication skillsGC1, GC7, GC9, GC11


Topics will include: 

  • Introduction to social psychology and social psychology research methods, ethics, and historical and contemporary advancements, including advancements arising from technology. 
  • Models and concepts describing the self 
  • Person perception 
  • Stereotyping and prejudice with special reference to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
  • Attitudes 
  • Conformity, compliance, and obedience 
  • Group processes 
  • Social psychology and culture
  • Interpersonal interaction and attraction 
  • Helping 
  • Aggression 
  • Applied social psychology 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Students have the equivalent of 3 contact hours per week over a 12-week period, which may involves lectures and tutorials. In addition to staff-led teaching and learning activities, students will engage in independent learning which includes weekly assigned readings, self-paced learning activities, and preparation of assessment tasks. These strategies will allow students to achieve the aim, learning outcomes, and graduate attributes of the unit. Learning and teaching strategies reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner while providing support and opportunities for interaction and engagement with staff and student peers in the unit. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively in the learning and teaching activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students must:

  • complete and submit all of the assessment tasks listed in the table below
  • obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50%
  • demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome

To best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with university assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used. To demonstrate understanding of methodological and ethical issues in research, students will explore and critique psychological research projects that are being conducted at ACU. Students will prepare a written assignment that assesses their ability to summarise and critique a research article from the social psychological literature that relates to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Student will also write a laboratory report that assesses their ability to report on social psychology empirical research. Finally, students will complete an exam to assess their understanding of key theories and findings in social psychology, and their application to real-world issues.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment Task 1: Research Awareness and Participation

To demonstrate understanding of methodological and ethical issues in research, students will explore psychological research projects that are being conducted at ACU and prepare a written critique on the studies. 



Assessment Task 2: Précis and Critique of Social Psychology Research Related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Enables you to demonstrate your ability to summarise and critique current research with consideration of key social psychology concepts of relevance to research related to Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander peoples.


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

Assessment Task 3: Laboratory Report   

Provides an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to present the method and research findings of data collection with implications for social psychology.


LO1, LO4, LO5

Assessment Task 4: Final Examination

This take-home examination assesses knowledge and understanding of course content via six short answer questions, and one extended answer question on an applied social psychology topic.


LO1, LO2, LO4

Representative texts and references

Dudgeon, P., Bray, A., D’Costa, B., & Walker, R. (2017). Decolonising psychology: Validating social and emotional wellbeing. Australian Psychologist, 52, 316-325. doi:10.1111/ap.12294

Kassin, S., Markus, H. R., Williams, L. A., Fein, S., & McBain, K. A. (2020). Social psychology (2nd Australian and New Zealand ed.). Pearson.

Kaufmann, L., & Findlay, B. (2020). How to write psychology research reports and assignments (9th ed). Pearson.

Pownall, M. & Rogers, W. S. (2021). A feminist companion to social psychology. McGraw Hill.

Smith, P. B., Fisher, R., Vignoles, V. L., & Bond, M. H. (2013). Understanding social psychology across cultures: Engaging with others in a changing world (2nd ed.). Sage.

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